Biomimetics and Biomimicry in Engineering

Are KTPs the only answer to meaningful industry-academic partnerships?

In Knowledge Transfer on 2010/04/15 at 10:50 am

The upcoming KTP Conference in Scotland (23rd April 2010) will be held at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. After two successful editions in University of St Andrews, this year brings us another opportunity to go and listen to policy makers, industry representatives, entrepreneurial academic members and practitioners about the current tools and support in place for Knowledge Transfer activities and partnerships.

I have recently started to think whether we are romanticising too much on KTPs. Those who have experience in this activity or have heard of it will agree with me that one of the standard recipes for success is the KTP associate. Good examples of KTPs happen because the associate does a remarkable job.  The researcher/entrepreneur who works at the university|company interface, deals with both, stretches boundaries to content both in a remarkable exercise where so many interests have to be juggled. A good associate is the key. Once again, good timing, appropriate networking and a stroke of luck at recruitment stage are crucial in this case if you want to hire the right person. And once again, it is down to personality, characters and team work/management.

If we want to continue bridging the gap between Academia and Industry, we have to ensure that these KTP associates are the best we can find, with full support from both sides and good levels of stamina and grace. How can we make sure this happens? as in many other jobs, we know so many other people who are not pulling their weight, are depressed, manage to perform at their very minimum. They might get away with that. Or not. We cannot afford poorly performing KTP associates because they are our ambassadors to Industry.

Since the perfect recruitment case cannot be guaranteed, we might well start thinking on other ways of making sure the knowledge transfer activities run smoothly, without solely depending on a major factor, the KTP associate.  There is a lot of work to do.

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  1. Thanks and good article! You are completly correct a good associate is the key and I guess will always be if KTPs stay the way they are. But we can’t forget KTP is not the only route to knowledge transfer. I do believe that funding mechanisms can only go so far to nurture innovation and that environment and accesability is actually the key. I read this today in the guardian that might make it a bit clearer to what I mean: http://goo.gl/4qj9

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